Although we almost always complain that today’s tomatoes no longer taste like they used to, every year new varieties arrive on the markets that surprise us and make us hope again to recover those intense fruity flavors. Today I want to tell you about a very peculiar tomato, the blue tomato, its characteristics and uses in the kitchen.
For occasional uses, for combine with other kinds of tomato or to surprise with its intense color, they are very interesting. And most importantly, its flavor is intense and fruity, so although they are more expensive than the classic seasonal tomatoes, they can be a good alternative to other varieties.
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Varieties of blue tomatoes and origins
It is a variety of tomatoes that have been bred to produce high levels of anthocyanins, a class of pigments responsible for the blue and purple colors of some fruits, such as blueberries or blackberries. These pigments are attributed antioxidant properties.
Inside, tomatoes can be more or less reddish or green depending on its degree of maturity, as with other tomato varieties, since most of the blue or purple pigments are concentrated in the skin.
Blue tomatoes, also known as purple tomatoes, originate in the United States of America. Today they are produced there, in Canada, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe.
In recent years, they have also begun to be cultivated in Spain and that is why we are finding them more easily in large supermarkets and specialized stores. For its curious color, its intense flavor and its antioxidant properties, have become an interesting item to include in our shopping cart.
All tomato varieties have anthocyanins in their leaves and stems but they do not usually manifest them in fruits, except for some varieties that show colored or striped areas with slightly bluish colors. Researchers at the Oregon State University developed some seeds of this blue tomato with the name of Indigo rose that enhanced the development of anthocyanin in contact with sunlight.
Later, researchers from Israel developed other varieties of this type of tomato such as Black Galaxy or the Sun Black. In our country they were developed in Valencia, through the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants, where they created blue tomatoes for therapeutic purposes for making vaccines.
Later other commercial varieties were developed in the John Innes Center from Norwich in the UK. There are also other varieties originating in Canada with more presence of these pigments, reaching almost black tomatoes.
Currently, tomatoes are produced that have their origin in those seeds and that have been crossed with other premises in other areas of the world, and in our country, are produced in the provinces of Malaga and Almería, so we can buy blue tomatoes from our area.
The flavor of these tomato varieties is more fruity than the traditional ones. His meat is very juicy and has an aroma that reminds us of plum and green tomato or tomato plant. This makes it very interesting to use in salads, both alone and mixed with other varieties of tomatoes.
His skin is slightly thinner than salad tomatoes, as is often the case with high-end tomatoes, which does not affect its transfer to the home, compared to other tomatoes that tear easily. In the mouth the skin is not unpleasant, it is not necessary to peel them like other varieties of harder skin.
Its appearance is reminiscent of those tomatoes ugly of orchard, due to its irregular shape, with recesses and folds, which many of us like for salads, and which are different from those round tomatoes greenhouse that they all look like clones all round and of the same shape and size.
One of its characteristics is the high in these antioxidant-rich tomatoes. Among the flavonoids, -pigments responsible for color- they have anthocyanins, also present in blueberries and other fruits that have the effect of being good to reduce inflammation, oxidation and free radicals and brain aging. It is even said that its consumption decreases or slows down memory impairment.
Inside, their flesh is also red and they barely have seeds. As for its price, it is in the expensive range of tomatoes, above the traditional salad, but no more expensive than the Raf or the pink tomatoes from Aracena or Barbastro.
Uses in the kitchen of the blue tomato
In principle you can use the blue tomato in the same way as other tomatoes, preparing salads, sauces or juices with them. When cooking this type of tomatoes, they lose part of their color, so it is preferable to take them for raw preparations.
In order to enjoy its colors, we suggest you prepare a carpaccio with these tomatoes, seasoning them with flake salt and a good extra virgin olive oil. You will also like it a lot if you chop them well and prepare a classic vinaigrette to dress some mussels.
If we do not mind doing without its color, we can use these tomatoes to make sauces and jams, which when cooked will no longer have that intense purple or blue color, but they will retain their delicious fruity flavor, so I recommend you try them in this way as well.
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Images | Wikimedia Commons and Pakus